What I Feel

I was a stranger inside myself.

abstract watercolor illustration of a woman experiencing feelings of intense grief and sadness
Image created via Midjourney

what i feel
ligaments softening, stretching
skin rough and distended
welcomed nausea
and then… nothing.

There was a distinct moment when I was no longer pregnant.

When I was told that my baby had no heartbeat.

I was physically still pregnant, but I felt nothing.

I was walking around in maternity clothes before I changed into a delivery gown. Over 24 hours between the time that I was told that my baby was gone and physically no longer pregnant. It was an out-of-body experience. I was a stranger inside myself. Sometimes I still feel that way.

This beginning of December marks all kinds of grieving.

On December 2nd, when I was in college, a woman I worked with lost her son in a car accident.

On December 4th, a few years ago, a boy I used to babysit for died, when he was 20.

On December 5th, today, a woman I met through my grief support group was supposed to welcome her son. Instead, he was born still in July.

This morning, while I was getting ready, thinking of these three mothers and the past few days, words came flooding back to me.

A friend had come to comfort me just a few days after I lost Nelle. She brought lasagna and sat, holding my hand. She had lost her own son when he was only a month old, and in those first few days, before my world was opened up to the tribe of parents who have lost children, I thought she was one of the only people who could understand. As I choked on my own sobs, she said "You will always be her Mommy."

Yes. I will always be a Mommy to Nelle and Iris. Just as the other women I know will always be mommies to Billy, Spencer, Patrick, Evan, and so many others. Writing this didn't elicit rage, but it brought forth many tears. Because no matter what age children are lost, we will always wonder about who they would have been.